Microsoft has announced it has acquired the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games for an undisclosed sum.
This includes the rights to all existing and future Gears of War games, entertainment experiences, and merchandise, Microsoft said. Redmond's Black Tusk game development studio in Vancouver will take over development of the franchise.
"The 'Gears of War' franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox," Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, said in astatement. "This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favorite games and entertainment experiences from the 'Gears of War' universe."
To date, more than 22 million Gears of War units have been sold worldwide, Spencer said. Microsoft said it plans to share more news about Gears of War later this year.
"We will collaborate closely with Epic to ensure the inclusion of the Unreal Engine technology into the 'Gears of War' franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise," Hanno Lemke, general manager of Black Tusk Studios at Microsoft Studios, said in a statement.
As part of the deal, Rod Fergusson, Epic Games's former production director on the Gears of War franchise, will join Microsoft in a "key studio leadership role" at Black Tusk. Fergusson has worked on all the existing Gears of War games.
"I've been privileged to work on a lot of great games with a lot of great teams, but 'Gears' has had the most impact on me professionally and personally, so this really feels like a homecoming," Fergusson said. "I can't wait to share more with you all soon."